Barbora Spotáková retained another title, after winning the Olympics and breaking World record she obtained maximum points in a survey of the Czech athletic federation to again become the national athlete of the year at the annual athletics Gala held tonight (8).
No other athlete other than the javelin thrower Barbora Spotáková had a chance for the top position in the view of 136 athletic officials, coaches and journalists whose views were surveyed.
Spotáková polled 1360 points, the maximum. Last year she was announced the Athlete of the Year for the first time, but had a tough battle with Roman Šebrle, as they both won World titles in Osaka. This year Špotáková started with a national record in Zaragoza, Spain, followed by the gold medal at the Olympics and crowned her season at the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, where she threw a World record of 72.28m, and as a result she had no challengers.
Decathlete Sebrle, the current World record holder and 2004 Olympic champion, struggled with injuries in 2008. First he lost his path to a World Indoor Championships medal in Valencia, and then further injuries complicated Šebrle’s preparations for Beijing, where he finished sixth. In the poll this year Sebrle finished fourth.
Instead in second place behind Spotáková came Vera Cechlová, the discus thrower who finished fifth at the Olympics. Third spot was taken by 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnová, who bettered her own national record up to 54.96 and ran in the Olympic final, finishing seventh. She took the same position at the World Indoor Champs – 400m dash and helped for fourth 4x 400m relay in Valencia, too.
Rudolf Cerný, Spotáková’s coach, was awarded as a “Coach of the Year” for the third time and in a row. Hammer thrower Katerina Safránková, World Junior silver medalist, was crowned “Junior of the Year”. Both Cerný and Safránková won by a huge margin. Petr Svoboda, second at the World Athletics Final, was the “Breakthrough of the Year”. 11 times he equalled or out ran 20 years old national 110m hurdles record, his new best is 13.29.
Michal Procházka for the IAAF
Results of the Czech Athlete of the Year 2008 (136 votes):
Athlete of the year (top ten):
1. Barbora Špotáková Javelin 1360 points
2. Vera Cechlová Discus 1075
3. Zuzana Hejnová 400 m H/400 m 909
4. Roman Šebrle Decathlon 877
5. Jaroslav Bába High jump 875
6. Tomáš Janku High jump 729
7. Petr Svoboda 110 m H/60 m H 599
8. Roman Novotný Long jump 518
9. Jan Kudlicka Pole vault 236
10. Iva Straková High jump 137
Coach: Rudolf Cerný 128 votes
Junior: Katerina Šafránková, Hammer 119
Petr Svoboda, 110 m H/60 m H 53
Roman Novotný, Long jump 45